Roger L. Simon

High Noonan in Iraq

Peggy Noonan’s statement – quoted on Pajamas this morning – is something I have felt and blogged about a long time:

We have divided government. Good, and for many reasons. One: It confuses our enemies. “Who do we hate now?” they ask in their caves, “the evil woman from San Francisco or the old infidel from Texas? Which do we hate more? And if we hate them both does that…unite them?”

We are in a 30-year war. It is no good for it to be led by, identified with, one party. It is no good for half the nation to feel estranged from its government’s decisions. It’s no good for us to be broken up more than a nation normally would be. And straight down the middle is a bad break, the kind that snaps.

In a sense this is a coherent response to email I received from my friend John Hinderaker yesterday, asking me to participate in a forum on Power Line. Powerline, and this forum, takes the, I think basically correct, view that the Republican defeat last week was a message of weakness to our enemies. Only the truth is at this moment we are weak. We are a divided country unwilling to wage war against Islamic fascism. A slight, eked out Republican victory wouldn’t have changed that much – and a slight, eked out victory is the only kind anyone can have in this divided land.

Which is, I think, Noonan’s point. But where do we go from here? Our recent Sec’y of State once famously said of Iraq something like “You break it, you keep it.” Well, he had half a point. In any war you “break it” to a great extent. But then what do you do? Fix it or walk away? Finish the job or abandon the people whose lives you hoped to improve?

Of course the problem is more complicated than that. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t think we’re really in a war. She doesn’t think the Atocha Station bombers were serious when they said they wanted “Al Andaluz” (if she knows what that is). I don’t agree, but (who knows?) she may be right. Now we’re going to find out. And she’s going to find out. Will she be able to learn? (I’m not just talking about her here, obviously, but her “class”.) And the same goes for me. Will I be ble to learn, if I am wrong? In any case, assuming there is a war, as Noonan points out, the USA better be united to a significant degree in order to win it. I see this minor Democratic Party victory as part of this process. My only disagreement with Noonan is that she understates things. She thinks we’re in a 30 years war. I’m more pessimistic. I think it’s closer to a 100. I sure hope I’m wrong.

UPDATE: No doubt Hamza al-Mujahir knows what “Al Andaluz” is.